by Beth Andrews
A few weeks ago I had the chance to do something I love doing, something I haven't had the time or, to be totally honest, the desire to do for a long time. I went on a Road Trip.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm in the car a lot. A whole lot. Either running errands, or taking my girls to practice or a friend's house, or sitting shotgun while teaching my son to drive (heck, sometimes I even do all of the above at the same time *g*). But it's been a good long while since I had somewhere to go outside my county's limits.
That all changed when I discovered my Senior Editor was speaking at Toronto Romance Writers - yes, that's in Toronto. A city with 4.5 million people. How do I know that's the population? Because my husband told me. A dozen times. In fact, here's just a sample of what he said to me before I left:
"For the love of all that's good in the world, don't plot a book while you're driving in Toronto. You really need to pay attention to what you're doing! There are 4.5 million people there."
"Remember that one time when you picked up pizza for dinner at the pizzeria down the road and got in the wrong car and didn't even notice until you'd sat there a minute trying to figure out what was different? Well, please don't do that in Toronto. You know, there are 4.5 million people there. Leave their cars alone."
"Yes, I know you claim you're not lost when you drive aimlessly around a large city you're unfamiliar with - but just because you know you're in Canada, doesn't mean you know which direction to go in order to get home. Please take a map of the city with you. They've got enough people in Toronto (4.5 million) they don't need you living there too."
After this helpful advice, of course I was excited to get going. *g* And, as I'm no dummy, I decided to take someone with me to keep me company and help with the driving and navigate those big city streets. So, I took my son :-) Which was a great idea except, well, he's 16 which means his conversational skills could use some work, he only has his permit and there was no way I was letting him drive on those 8 lane highways (we only have the regular old 4 lanes of highways here - 2 on each side. Trust me, it's much safer) but he was an Ace as Chief Navigator! And he brought along some good CDs so we had classic rock tunes to listen to all the way up and back ;-)
It was a very successful road trip! My Senior Editor was a great speaker and the Toronto Chapter was warm and welcoming (even though I left in a hurry to avoid getting home too late), my son (despite my earlier teasing) was great company and he did drive part way. *g* Best of all, it brought back memories of the many road trips I've taken in my life and how I've evolved and changed.
During the late 80's/early 90's, I'd listen to 80's hair bands on the tape player of my Ford Escort while driving the 90 miles home from school. I'd munch on cheese popcorn or Combos (Combos are still a family road trip favorite) and chocolate milk (regular, none of that low fat stuff for me back then). My metabolism rocked in the 80's!!
The 90's brought with it three kids (I'm still not sure how I got them - although I'm starting to suspect they're to blame for my metabolism going to pot) and car seats. We'd pile in our mini-van and head to the beach as we snacked on animal crackers and juice boxes. Of course the windows were rolled down as the air conditioner didn't work but that's okay. That just meant everyone could hear Chumbawumba (anyone else remember them?) singing about getting knocked down and back up again. We liked to share the joy. *g*
A few years back the entire family went to Virginia to visit friends. About three hours into the trip, we stopped for lunch only to discover our son (then 12) had forgotten his shoes. We're still not sure how it happened - all we know is he thought he'd save time by putting his shoes on in the car once we were on our way (as opposed to actually wearing them out of the house) but never grabbed them. Luckily we were by a mall and able to pick him up some cheap sneakers. *g*
What about you, dear Readers? Do you love Road Trips? Or does the idea of being cooped up in a car for more than 30 minutes give you the heebie jeebies? What's your favorite traveling music? Snacks? We'd love it if you shared your favorite Road Trip memory ;-)